As we are finishing a preview of a typical Frank Lloyd Wright museum tour, our gracious guide, Kimberly Higgenbotham, tells us that when asked which of his projects was his favorite, Wright would invariably reply "the next one." It occurs to me that this might be my own response to the question of which is my favorite road trip... but then it is becoming clear that my answer is invariably "this one."
We had arrived in Phoenix the prior afternoon, and after checking into the lovely Westin Kierland Hotel, jumped into our gear and rode over to EagleRider's location to pick up our bikes. Two Harleys were ready and waiting - a Fat Boy for Christa, and a Dyna Low Rider for me. After hooking up the GPS to Christa's bike, we headed to Old Scottsdale for dinner. As a long-time sportsbike rider, I was to be continually impressed by the Dyna - it took in stride roads of all shapes, sizes, and conditions, and my lower back felt as good at the end of a 12-hour riding day as it did before we left.
Something's Coming, Something Good…
Christa and I are both excited about our tour. Over breakfast, we share our anticipation of the next few days: we know we will see a diversity of natural splendor, sites and museums of importance to our national history, and exciting and challenging roads. What we will end up experiencing will surpass our expectations by far, and deliver a varied, interesting, and compelling chapter in our book of rides.
After a solid night's sleep in Westin's Heavenly Beds®, (not an exaggeration), we ride up to Taliesen West, Frank Lloyd Wright's home and museum campus, just minutes away. A pioneer in architecture, Wright designed to reflect the natural environment. The structures on this site follow the flow of vegetation, angles, and forms, and there is a sense of calm and serenity emanating from this harmony of man and nature. The views themselves are beautiful, and the concepts and ideas that Wright incorporated are fascinating.
We get gas and water, and take Route 87 toward Sedona. Through beautiful sweeping roads, I observe the quintessential Arizona vistas, a contrast to my usual landscapes of New York City skyscrapers, streets, and people. At one point I see out of the corner of my eye what seem to be hundreds of parked bikes. I motion to Christa to pull over: it's a large motorcycle junkyard, one bike piled next to one another. "All Bikes" in Rye, AZ, has innumerable parts to address what ails a bike. The road itself is one of wide sweepers, with what is now my favorite sign: the "squiggle-plus-arrow" denoting a "curvy road ahead"… with the incongruity suggesting speeds of 65 mph.
The day is waning and we chase the sunlight to Sedona. Just in time, we see the breathtaking red rock country at sunset. The rocks, of all shapes and sizes, seem on fire. Familiar shapes such as Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and my favorite, Snoopy Rock, are sharply outlined against the deep blues and purples of the late afternoon sky. As we stroll along the now quiet downtown at 9pm, we find a few open restaurants and peer into the shop and gallery windows.